February 24 Devotional (2021)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me…”

February 24, 2021
Lent

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 30:1-9; Matthew 4:1-11; “O God, there is Your face” by John Philip Newell



Morning Invocation

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come let us adore him.

Opening Prayer

God, our God,

to you we must awaken at the light.

A you arouse us from sleep, 

free our souls also from the slumber of our spirits, 

that we may be contrite in our beds 

and mindful of our duty to you; 

you reign forever and ever.

Amen. [1]

The Hymn

“Now let us all with one accord”

By Gregory the Great, 540-604


“Freedom”
By Sandy Tracey
(website)

Morning Reading: Proverbs 30:1-9

Plea to be safe from temptation

1 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle.

The man declares, I am weary, O God;

I am weary, O God, and worn out.

2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man.

I have not the understanding of a man.

3 I have not learned wisdom,

nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.

4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?

Who has gathered the wind in his fists?

Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?

Who has established all the ends of the earth?

What is his name, and what is his son’s name?

Surely you know!

5 Every word of God proves true;

he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

6 Do not add to his words,

lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

7 Two things I ask of you;

deny them not to me before I die:

8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty nor riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

9 lest I be full and deny you

and say, “Who is the LORD?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.

Morning Lesson

Neither poverty nor riches

“The origin of these things is not clear. Nothing is known about Agur [v. 1] except that he was a wise teacher who may have come from Lemuel’s kingdom.” [2]

“Because God is infinite, certain aspects of His nature will remain a mystery. Compare these questions [vv. 2-4] with the questions God asked Job (Job 38-41). Use these questions to probe your own humility and awe before your Creator.” [3]

“Some scholars feel that the son referred to [v. 4] is the Son of God, the pre-incarnate being of the Messiah who, before the foundation of the earth, participated in the Creation. Colossians 1:16-17 teaches that through Christ the world was created.” [4]

“Having too much money can be dangerous, but so can having too little. Being poor can, in fact, be hazardous to spiritual as well as physical health. On the other hand, being rich is not the answer. As Jesus pointed out, rich people have trouble getting into God’s Kingdom (Matt 19:23-24). Like Paul, we can learn how to live whether we have little or plenty (Phil 4:12), but our lives are more likely to be effective if we have ‘neither poverty nor riches.’” [5]

Short Verse

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me;* O LORD, make haste to help me. 

Psalm 40:14

Morning Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [6]

The Plea of the Church

Look mercifully on this your family, Almighty God, that by your great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore; through Christ our Lord. Amen. [7]


A prayer inspired by Saint Matthias the Apostle, who the Church remembers on February 24th

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



“The temptation of Christ by the devil”
By Félix Joseph Barrias
(source)

Midday Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ temptation

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Midday Lesson

Satan tries to tempt Jesus

“To be tempted is to be tested in fundamental areas of faith. As in Mark, the Spirit leads, or ‘throws,’ Jesus into the wilderness after His Baptism to be tested by a struggle with the devil. We who are baptised in Christ need not be defeated by temptations because we too are aided by the Holy Spirit. The wilderness is a battleground, an image of the world, both the dwelling place of demons and a source of divine tranquillity and victory.” [8]

” The devil challenges Christ’s relationship to the Father.  If You are the Son of God calls into question the Father’s declaration at Christ’s Baptism (3:17). The devil wants Jesus to act independently and to detach Himself from the will of the Father. In His divine nature, Christ shares one will with the Father and the Holy Spirit; He can do nothing of Himself (Jn 5:30) apart from the Father. But in His humanity, He processes free will and at all times must choose to remain obedient to the divine will of the Father.” [9]

“By rejecting the first temptation, Jesus rejects an earthly Kingdom and shows us not to pursue earthly comfort in the ‘food which perishes’ (Jn 6:27). While Adam disregarded the divine word in order to pursue the passions of his body (Gn 3), the New Adam – Christ – conquers all temptation by the divine word, giving human nature the power to conquer Satan.” [10]

“Seeing that Christ had defeated him through the power of the Scriptures, Satan vainly tries to use the Scriptures to put God’s power of protection to the test. (See also 2Pt 1:19-21).” [11]

“Trials and temptations come on their own: we should never intentionally expose ourselves to danger in order to test or prove God’s protection. To do so is to tempt the LORD.” [12]

“God’s Kingdom is not one of earthly power and possessions. In the devil’s test, Jesus was being asked to choose worldly power over the Kingdom of God. The devil is the ‘ruler of the world’ (Jn 12:31), ‘the god of this age’ (2Co 4:4), because the whole world is in his power (1Jn 5:19). Jesus refuses the road of earthly glory, which would lead Him away from His suffering and death for the redemption of the world.” [13]

“Jesus reverses Israel’s falling to temptation in the wilderness. The Israelites were tested for forty years in the wilderness and proved disobedient and disloyal. God humbled them by first letting them go hungry and then feeding them with manna to help them learn to be dependent on Him (Dt 8:2-5). Here, Jesus is tested with hunger for forty days, but He does not sin. His answers to Satan are from Deuteronomy, and all call for loyalty to God.” [14]

“Jesus fasted to overcome temptation, giving us an example of our power and limitations in the face of temptation. The hunger of his flesh does not control Him; rather, He controls His flesh. Our Lord’s fast of forty days is the foundation of the Church’s forty-day Lenten fast before Holy Week and of the fast before Christmas.” [15]

Short Verse

Happy are those who act with justice* and always do right! 

Psalm 106:3

Midday Prayer

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. All things are of your making, all times and seasons obey your laws, but you chose to create us in your own image, setting us over the whole world in all its wonder. You made us the steward of creation, to praise you day by day for the marvels of your wisdom and power. 

THE ROMAN MISSAL [16]



“Moon and cow”
By Alex Colville
(source)

Evensong Reading

“O God, there is Your face”

By John Philip Newell

Whichever way we turn, O God, there is Your face 

in the light of the moon and patterns of stars, 

in sacred mountain rifts and ancient groves, 

in mighty seas and creatures of the deep. 

Whichever way we turn, O God, there is Your face 

in the light of eyes we love, 

in the salt of tears we have tasted, 

in weathered countenances east and west, 

in the soft skin glow of the child everywhere. 

Whichever way we turn, O God, there is Your face, 

there is Your face 

among us. [17]

Short Verse

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 

Matthew 4:2

Evensong Prayer

O God,

you do not desire the death of sinners, 

but you want them to turn to you and live. 

Look with pity on the weakness of our mortal nature. 

We confess that we are but ashes,

and for our wickedness we deserve to return to the dust. 

Forgive all our sins,

and give us the blessings that come with true repentance; 

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. [18]



“The Hermit”
By Gerrit Dou (1613 – 1675)
(source)

The Felgild Compline 

(from the Northumbria Community’s Daily Prayers [19])

Felgild lived in the late seventh century. After Cuthbert died Ethilwald took his place as hermit on the Inner Farne. Twelve years later, having never left the island, he also died. Felgild was the next hermit to come there, but the rigours of his life in the cell aggravated a swelling on his face. The condition was suddenly healed, allowing him to continue the life of a solitary. 

This Compline is dedicated to him because he represents so many whose names we never hear who faithfully follow the example of good men and women of old, continuing in their devotion to prayer and their battle against the powers of evil. 

+ indicates that you may make the sign of the cross. 

* indicates a change of reader. All say together the sections in bold type. The words in bold italic type set between lines should be said by each in turn. 

+ (silently.) 

Calm me, O Lord, as You stilled the storm. 

Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm. 

Let all the tumult within me cease. 

Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace. 

*  Father, bless the work that is done, and the work that is to be.

*  Father, bless the servant that I am, and the servant that I will be. 

Thou Lord and God of power, 

shield and sustain me this night. 

I will lie down this night with God, 

and God will lie down with me; 

I will lie down this night with Christ, 

and Christ will lie down with me; 

I will lie down this night with the Spirit, 

and the Spirit will lie down with me; 

O God and Christ and the Spirit, 

be lying down with me. 

*  The peace of God be over me to shelter me, 

*  under me to uphold me, 

*  about me to protect me, 

*  behind me to direct me, 

*  ever with me to save me. 

The peace of all peace be mine this night 

+  in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, 

and of the Holy Spirit. 

Amen.


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Rossway.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). Proverbs. In Chronological life application study Bible (p. 846). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[3] Ibid. 2

[4] Ibid. 2

[5] Ibid. 2

[6] Episcopal Church. (1979). Collects: Seasons of the Year. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 217). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[7] The Episcopal Church. (2018). Seasonal Blessings. In The Book of Occasional Services (PDF ed., p. 11). Then Episcopal Church. Retrieved November December 15, 2020, from https://episcopalchurch.org/files/lm_book_of_occasional_services_2018.pdf

[8] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1302). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Ibid. 8

[10] Ibid. 8

[11] Ibid. 8

[12] Ibid. 8

[13] Ibid. 8

[14] Ibid. 8

[15] Ibid. 8

[16] Tickle, P. (2006). February. In The divine hours: Prayers for Springtime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 17). New York, NY: Image Books

[17] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 3997). London: HarperCollins.

[18] Stratman, P. (2001). Lent. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 75). Rossway.


[19] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Felgild Compline. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 92215-92229). London: HarperCollins.

One thought on “February 24 Devotional (2021)

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